Ask an Investor: Can I disconnect over the holidays without upsetting my investors?


With the rise of technologies making it easier to connect virtually, the pressure to be always accessible to your investors, customers, and employees has risen. This pressure is especially true in the tech industry, whose bedrock is continuous innovation and accelerating growth.

The concept of taking even a week off seems anathema to both those ideals. As examples, if your company is moving collaboration tools from physical spaces to virtual ones for continuous connectivity and collaboration, it might seem somewhat ironic to be disconnecting over the holidays.

Candles can’t burn forever, and for at least one week this year, we hope that you take the week off unplug, and prioritize your health and personal happiness.

Investors have also adopted this “always on” culture, praising founders for their quick response times, late night phone calls, and early morning emails. But the week between Christmas and New Year’s is a unique opportunity to clear your head, truly disconnect and return to work re-energized. Regardless of which holidays you celebrate this time of year (if any), a vast portion of the workforce is going to be offline, or at least slow to respond. To the extent that your work depends on other people, expect productivity to plummet.

Seize this opportunity to take a meaningful break and engage with the other aspects of your life — your family, your health, your hobbies, and your life outside of your company. Like lots of other investors, our offices are closed next week and we’re using this time for all the same reasons: trading our day-to-day of investing time and capital in companies with investing in ourselves as human beings.

Running a company is hard work. You’re living in constant ambiguity, change, and pressure. As a founder, every decision comes back to you. As a founder and investor community, we don’t discuss enough the mental toll running a startup takes on a founding team. Every hour spent building your business is an hour not spent with the people closest to you or prioritizing your physical and mental health.

As a founder, you decide that trade-off is worth it, whether because of the joy of pursuing your passions, the freedom of charting your course, or the hoped-for future financial upside. But candles can’t burn forever, and for at least one week this year, we hope that you take the week off, unplug, and prioritize your health and personal happiness.

Then when you return in January, you’ll be ready to tackle your strategic vision, execute on your 2018 budget, grow on pace with your hiring plan, and represent your company at the critical thought leadership and travel engagements you’ve mapped out for the year.

– From Sarah Marion and Christian Lassonde

Photo via Unsplash